Monday, April 7, 2008

Friday, Saturday, Show Schooling

Friday noon lesson was good. Romeo cooperated until the rains came. We worked on a few high crossrails, then straight to 2'. One fence only, never got back to the series of bounces. Heavy rainshowers shortened our lesson, as Robin tore the tack off of him, and I ran him to the stall for shelter. Everything, and I mean everything, got wet. Saddle, pads, bridle, his wraps, my boots, helmet, all of it. Dripping, irritating, soggy, wet. Total lesson, exactly 1 hour, but unfortunately no cool down. Focused on all the same things, hands, elbows, heels down, eyes up, forward energy...

Robin somehow got a flat tire, discovered at the house. Mike came & they repaired together.

Saturday morning, lesson 9am. Lesson lasted 1.5 hours. Knowing we had to have at least one bad day, this was it. First twenty minutes, Romeo was my screaming 2 year-old kid in a candy aisle. "I wanna candy! I wanna candy! I won't cooperate until I getta candy!" So I pushed and pushed. Tried many many transitions, changing anything at all every time I lost his attention. That worked a little, then he got worse again. Finally started just pushing him with strong legs, forcing him to bounce into the bit. All of a sudden, at the far yard end, in a circle, he tucked his head, let out a huge sigh, and began to work. Word of the day? PERSISTENCE!!! After he calmed down, focused on one crossrail three times, one 2' fence multiple times. Got a lot of clean jumps, good focus on elbows, eyes, and nice crest releases.

Bathed Romeo, packed truck, trailer, wrapped legs, and off we went. Total travel time, a little under 2 hours.

Arrived at the facility increasingly overwhelmed. Whatta fancy, rich, upscale place! I felt pretty insignificant arriving there in my little trailer, with my little horse. I was greeted with a gator-driving teenager, who helped me unload horse to stall, as well as tack. Turns out the stall comes with a little tack stall, grain bin, hay rack, and automatic waterer. How fantastic! All supplies unloaded, trailer in a far parking lot unhooked, I gathered my horse.

Rode solo in the little covered arena for nearly 30 minutes, walk & trot. Romeo was fairly well behaved, nothing like in the morning. Got him past some spooks like viewing gazebos, buckets, gates, and the train whizzing past behind us. He seemed pretty eager to pay attention. I watched a teenager in the jumping covered arena whipping her horse's hiney with a crop with fear. There's no way I'd ever do that to a horse. (That meets this edition of "People are Stupid!") As I left the smaller arena, comments arose like, "He's a cute mover! You're doing great!" *grin* That's my adorable, crooked legged, inside tracking little cow-pony!!!

When the jumping arena cleared, I asked the owner where the rails were in there at my level. She pointed out one crossrail, and off we went. Everyone meandered away, and feeling pretty secure, we walked & trotted the rail in the big arena. I aimed at the one crossrail, pointed, and pushed. Romeo hesitated, a little timid about the big PVC pipe rails he was about to jump. And JUMP he did - about 3 ft in the air. I managed to stay with him, and out of his face, courtesy of a wad-o-mane. We accomplished a few more successful jumps, with a little less air, and called it quits. Total work, about 50 minutes.

Headed for the hotel, arrived there at 7pm. Had pizza dinner delivered, promptly found out the toilet wasn't working. Relocated to a different room, and bed by 10:30pm. Got incredibly sick overnight, low blood sugar (doctor's appointment scheduled to try to learn more).

Next post covers the show, and some video clippets of our stellar performance.

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